Chicago-area man attempts to escape Miller Co jail to murder witness

Joseph McKenna

A Miller County murder suspect is now charged with trying to escape jail to murder a witness.

Joseph McKenna, 26, Chicago, was charged Wednesday with attempting to escape from custody.  

According to court documents, McKenna got his hands on a pencil sharpener and was using it to file the bars on his jail pod window.

He'd told a fellow inmate he was breaking out to kill the witness in his murder case, then would meet with friends in Jefferson City.

McKenna told the same inmate that if that plan didn't work, he'd fake a medical incident, then overpower the staff to escape.

McKenna is also charged with first-degree murder for killing a California-state man last summer during an illegal drug deal in rural Miller County.

The Miller County prosecutor announced last month he's seeking the death penalty against McKenna for the murder charge.